By Lawrence Kadzitche
He was a child he doted on. His name was Dan and he was Jack’s only child. But despite the love he lavished on him, the baby showed aversion to him. If he tried to carry him, the baby would squirm and cry.
But his consolation was that he wasn’t the only one to whom the baby showed strong dislike. He did the same to anyone who tried to carry him except for his mother.
The baby’s attachment to its mother was exceptional. It wouldn’t allow her out of sight. She therefore had to go everywhere with it. Jack envied her for this and desperately wished the baby would also love him like that.
“I think there’s something wrong with the baby,” Jack’s wife said one day. “I think he hates me.”
Jack was astonished. “Hates you? Coming from you, I would say that’s surprising, Edna.”
“I don’t think the baby wants to be with me always because it loves me,” Edna said. “I think it has some other ulterior motive.”
Jack quickly dismissed the subject. He had to admit the baby’s attachment to its mother was too much to a point that it could irritate her. Like any other person she would definitely want to have some time alone, something the baby was not allowing her to do. But that didn’t mean it hated her.
But a week later the issue took a new twist.
“Jack, now I know what has been disturbing me about the baby,” Edna said. “He’s evil!”
“Yes, the little devil is planning to kill me!”
Jack stared at his wife incredulously. “Be serious, dear. How can a year old baby accomplish the task of killing you?”
“I don’t know but what I know is that the kid is planning to kill me. It’s there in his eyes.”
“Wait a minute, Edna. Dan is your baby. Our baby. You’re his mother. He depends on you for everything. What would he gain from killing you?”
“I don’t know. All the same, I know for certain that he wants me dead. He’s planning to murder me.”
“So you don’t know how Dan is going to kill you or why but you’re sure he’s planning to kill you?”
“Yes,” said Edna emphatically. “Definitely there’s evil in the baby. We must get rid of him.”
Jack frowned. There was definitely something wrong with his wife. How could she suggest that they kill their lovely baby? Was she loosing her sanity?
From that day, for whatever reason, Edna became obsessed with the notion that the baby was planning to murder her. She still took care of the baby but it was the way one would take care of a loathsome object. There was no affection in whatever she did.
Jack tried to reason with her. Dan was just a year old baby. There was no way he could plan let alone carry out murder. It was impossible.
But Edna would have none of it. To her the baby was evil and was out to kill her. With increasing frustration, he saw her obsession destroy her. She was always staring furtively at the baby, seeing murder in his eyes that was not there, urging Jack to get rid of the baby.
But there was no way he could get rid of his only child simply because his wife thought him evil. He began to worry that his wife was losing his mind and began seriously thinking of committing her to a mental hospital.
But things were never to go that far. Jack returned home one evening to find his wife dead. She had committed suicide in the bedroom by taking poison. His eyes left his wife’s body and met those of the baby watching him from their bed.
Jack’s heart lurched. Oh God!
Never in his life had he seen eyes filled with such hate. The eyes seemed to glow with a blend of hate and malice. He saw what his wife had seen. Saw it as clearly as he would ever see it.
The baby’s plan had been simple. The baby’s insistence to be with its mother hadn’t been out of love. It knew Edna would realize that it hated her. By being with her all the time it would make her feel the way one would feel if locked in a dark room with a poisonous snake. The tension would one day become unbearable and she would suffer a breakdown.
And that’s exactly what had happened. He looked at his wife’s body lying in a pool of her own vomit on the floor. Edna’s mind had snapped and she had taken her own life. All because of the calculating little bastard! He had deliberately driven his wife to death!
Jack felt dreadfully afraid. The baby was obviously evil. He had already killed his mother. He did not doubt that he would now try to kill him. It was there in the little murderer’s eyes.
What must he do? Report the little killer to the police? But who would believe the story? A father afraid of being killed by his own one year old baby? They would surely refer him to a mental hospital. Hadn’t he himself thought Edna mad when she had made a similar claim?
He paced the bedroom like a caged animal. His mind snapped to a decision. The murderous little creature must be destroyed. It would just be a matter of smothering him with a pillow.
His eyes met those of the baby. He was sure they had changed colour or were his eyes deceiving him? He had thought the baby’s eyes were black but now they were gray. A peculiar colour. Where had he seen such eyes before?
Jesus! How could it be possible? They were the eyes of Roger, the son that he had loved so much but had sacrificed.
Everything came back to him in a rush. Ten years ago he had consulted a witchdoctor to give him magic charms to make him rich. The witchdoctor had given him the charms but the cost was that he had to kill his seven year old son Roger as a sacrifice.
But how could Roger come back to be born to him again as this murderous baby? Then he remembered the witchdoctor’s warning: “You’ll get very rich but the price is that both you and your wife will die young.”
There it was. The baby was the executioner!
Mad with anger, Jack dashed towards the baby. But as he was reaching the bed, he tripped on the vomit of his wife. He spun, limbs flailing. The baby laughed harshly.
Jack’s head hit one corner of the bed’s posts with a sickening thud. His body slid next to his wife’s body, one hand across her chest as if he was comforting her and then he was still.
They found Jack and his wife dead the following morning. But never found, was the baby.